Nanaimo Remembers is a memorial project that will display part of the lives and deaths of more than 200 soldiers who resided in Nanaimo during the first and second World Wars. The memorial video aims to honour the fallen soldiers by showing their names in a posthumous act that will last 11 days, ending on Remembrance Day.

“For me, the impact of this project is that glimpse into the lives of these soldiers that we are providing, including their connection to the community,” says Dr. Stephen Davies, Director of CLIP, the Canadian Letters and Images Project. “In some cases, we tell people what area of Nanaimo they lived in, and what their occupations were before they went into service for their country.”

CLIP’s main objective is to create an online archive of the Canadian war experience, told by soldiers, through the digitization of materials such as letters, diary entries, photographs, and even poems, the project preserves the words of Canadians who’ve served. The information varies from soldier to soldier, but a range of description is included, such as: name, rank, and battalion, date of and age at death, burial, profession, and their connection to Nanaimo.

Here is an example of one of the World War I soldiers on the display:

Corporal John Knox
4th Battalion
Killed in action in June 1916 at age 23
Interred at Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial in West- Vlaanderen, Belgium
Resident of Five Acres in Nanaimo (present day Harewood)
School Teacher  

Names were taken from the Dallas Square Cenotaph in downtown Nanaimo and, starting this year, a new section will hallmark the contributions of local Indigenous soldiers with VIU’s Elder-in-Residence, Geraldine Manson, providing the information.

The Nanaimo Remembers project was first launched in 2018 by VIU’s Marketing, Analytics, Recruitment and Communications department, with the support of CLIP and the Nanaimo Community Archives.

The video will be on display in the Welcome Centre (Building 300 at VIU’s Nanaimo campus) until November 11, 2019.

It will also be showcased at these locations:

  • Nanaimo-Ladysmith Public Schools’ website, social media accounts, and at participating schools
  • City of Nanaimo facilities, including Beban Park and Oliver Woods Community Centre
  • The Harbourfront, Nanaimo North, and Wellington locations of the Vancouver Island Regional Library
  • The Nanaimo Museum
  • Woodgrove Centre in Centre Court
  • The Port Theatre on November 11.

The link for the video is available on YouTube if you cannot check any of the above venues.